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The 39 Steps stays on at Criterion

Published April 17, 2008

The four occupants of the Criteron’s stage will continue to climb The 39 Steps until the autumn of this year, as the hit comedy announces an extension to 11 October. The news comes as original cast member Charles Edwards enjoys his first week in the newly opened Broadway production of the show, reprising his role as Richard Hannay.

Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of John Buchan’s novel The 39 Steps, which recreates every scene from the 1935 Hitchcock film, originated at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2005 before starting its London run at the Tricycle. It transferred to the West End’s Criterion on 20 September 2006, where it has been running ever since.

Directed by Maria Aitken, this fast-paced comedy tells of bored Londoner Richard Hannay, whose life is suddenly spiced up when a mysterious woman is murdered in his flat. Forced to go on the run, Hannay flees to Scotland in search of the truth about The 39 Steps, meeting an assortment of eclectic characters and getting himself into more than a few scrapes along the way.

Only one member of the original cast remains in the show – Simon Gregor, who plays one of the multi-faceted clowns. He is joined by Simon Paisley Day as Hannay, Josefina Gabrielle as Pamela/Margaret/Annabella and Martyn Ellis as the other clown. Between them the quartet play as many as 139 roles.

The Broadway production opened at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines theatre on 15 January, with Edwards leading a cast of Arnie Burton, Jennifer Ferrin and Cliff Saunders. An Australian production is due to open later this year. em>CB

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